tv Dateline NBC NBC September 3, 2012 3:05am-4:00am EDT
last appearance before the cameras. >> it was her. >> was a model's date with death caught on tape? >> we have a deranged sadistic killer out there. >> death of a golden girl. >> good evening and welcome to "dateline." i'm lester holt. she was no stranger to a camera. but the image that interested police was a few seconds of grainy video recorded during the last hours of her life. grainy video recorded during the last hours of her life. here's dennis murphy. captions paid for by nbc-universal television new year's 2010 was arriving on a shivery night by miami standards. but temps in the low 60s weren't enough to chill the streets. there in the froth was a couple
from michigan paula and kevin clint down from detroit on an impulse holiday weekend. >> how did the idea come together to go to south beach? >> paula. that was my baby. she didn't skimp on herself. and she liked to live the good life and going down to south beach, that was it. >> a down and back. hit the clubs, do some shots, hello, 2010. >> it was great. we had it all figured out. go down to south beach, celebrate the new year's come back on monday. >> but come monday the live in boyfriend and girlfriend pair were not on a plane to detroit. kevin was a worried guy wandering down the streets in a city he didn't go looking for paula. she was missing. the aspiring leggy model with
blonde hair down to there had absolutely vanished. >> harvey new year. >> looking back if lady gaga hadn't been booked it at the hotel paula wouldn't have insisted on the trip and got separated. in miami kevin scored scalper's tickets for $700 each. >> this is the hottest ticket in town. she heard the celebrities were going to be there and she had to go to lady gaga. >> their attendance at the show was documented by taking videos of them dancing. men tended to do that when they saw paula clubbed out. 2010 was starting out right in the sweet spot. >> she liked the celebrities and the v.i.p. tables?
>> absolutely. she was a beautiful girl. she didn't take a bad picture. >> and she had a lot of them. pictures. head shots, glamour stuff. at 26 years old she had come to know cameras very well. she was a model represented by a national agency and made the usual rounds, local commercials, pretty girl at the detroit car show kind of stints. paula tried out for a national playboy play mate search. a cattle call with skimpy clothing. paula made it on to the 2003 video of the ultimate play mate search. she didn't make the cut. still her sister kelly farris remembered paula happy she tried it. >> she was proud of making it on
the video. >> but it never quite broke for her, did it? >> no. >> but she talked about revving her modelling fantasies when the trip was over. saturday january 2nd, 2010 was a vacation for paula and her boyfriend. they moved hotels to a place on the beach. there on the art deco strip they befriended a waiter. >> i'm going to be at space. >> space, to the locals, club space to out of towners, miami's hottest afterhours club. it's open from saturday at 11:00 p.m. to sunday afternoon. they had a romantic dinner on south beach where paula bought this dress. paula did her one-hour makeup thing and at 5:30 a.m., paula and kevin cabbed it to club space.
lady gaga, now club space. paula in her six-inch heels, sheer blue dress and waist-length hair was a head turner. >> she kind of glowed in the dark. she was so blonde and really tan with beautiful blue eyes and dress is neon blue or green. >> the girls look like that in miami. >> she stood out. i assume she was a model. >> paula and kevin had been dating and living together for a couple years. and he knew what impact his girlfriend would have in a cavernous dance space filled with single men fuelled by alcohol. >> she is the kind of a girl who
could take oxygen out of a room. >> for sure. she was a knockout. she was a stunner. >> paula danced as the fins began circling her. kevin ran interference on the men as best he could. but these guys were making heavy moves on his woman one in particular. >> i turn around for a second and he's got his hand around her waist and crotch against her. and she's looking at me laughing and like whatever. it's okay. we got to go. >> but paula, lit up by the attention and the shooters she was downing had a different idea. she was digging in her stilettos. >> i grabbed her around the waist and come on, it's time to go. do the boyfriend shuffle with her. she's like i don't want to go. bam. bouncers are on me. they must have been watching or something. they were on me instantly.
bam. two guys. >> kevin was being ejected from the club by security. she was staying. she asked for her credit card and he gave it to her. he wasn't going to reason for her in the haze. so seething he got in her cab still kayying her cell phone and went back to their hotel room in miami beach. when the sun rose on sunday morning he crashed without his girlfriend. if he stayed for a few minutes after being tossed out he would have seen paula leaving just before 7:30 in the morning. she turned right at the sidewalk and disappeared, as they say, without a trace. coming up, kevin wakes up alone but not worried, at least not yet. >> had you and paula had nights that ended like that before? >> yes and she always came home.
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>> had you and paula had nights that ended like that before? >> yes. and she always came >> it is no? >> i'm not happy. >> kevin was starting to worry but knew that paula could be a tough detroit cookie when she t >> she knows how to handle herself? >> shows not naive. >> the pictures of pretty paula mask a difficult michigan home life with an absent father and a lot of step dads. when she was 19, she was dating an older man. >> i was angry and upset. she is 14. she's still a kid. and my mother still let her date him. and at one point i had to call child protective services. >> calling the watchdogs on your mother? >> yes. >> the man was arrested and convicted of having sex with a minor and he is now on a list of
sex offenders. >> paula waited until he was released from prison and started dating him again. by then she was the age of consent. all before her time but still a dreamy girl in some ways. >> the little girl fantasy of being the pin up girl or shampoo model. she had a lot of barbies? >> over 500. >> she liked bash can so much, she tried to become her. tall, thin, with long golden hair. the world she tried to enter was taken with her barbie looks. but the gentlemens clubs in the detroit area were. she danced at the penthouse club and saved tips to pay for college tuition. she liked to be the girl on the pole. >> i think that's why ultimately, you know, she became
a dancer. just seeking male attention. you know, love that she didn't get growing up. >> along comes kevin, new boyfriend and he has to deal with her being an exotic dancer, a successful one. >> she is like this is it, take it or leave it. i said i love you that much, i'm going to take it. >> the money was good enough it allowed paula and kevin to move to los angeles. just in time for the housing market to knock his real estate business into the ditch. paula kept on dancing and paying the bills. they moved between michigan and california. now she was gone and he was alone in a miami beach hotel with a clerk asking if he is going to roll over the room for another night. kevin went down to ask the manager for help. >> she is like get yourself together we need to get her picture out on the tv and air waves.
>> miami beach police told him he would have to file his missing perp's report with the city of miami. that's where club space was located. but the cops wouldn't take his report until 24 hours had passed. he last had seen paula ten hours before. >> we're from out of town vacationing. it's not like her to be gone this long. >> what is the rest of sunday night? >> hospitals, jails i'm calling. >> kevin went back to club space to ask the homeless in the area if they'd seen paula that morning? after spreading money around he went to a gas station two blocks away. >> i'm in the taxi and i talk to the clerk and show him a picture of my girlfriend. >> that's kevin on the camera.
>> have you seen this girl? >> i've only been here an hour or two. >> he got an idea. call a private detective. he started calling numbers. the next morning, monday now, one of them a private investigator called kevin back. >> he was desperate. he said can you help me? and i said why not tell you about it. and i said we have to meet at the city of miami police station. >> and you have to say what do i have here? >> in the back of my mind i'm wondering is he straight up with me? >> after filing a missing persons, kevin rush returned to the hotel while wasser went to club space and talked to the bouncers. the people at the club said that paula left the club alone shortly after kevin. club policy is to remove both parties after a fight.
michael samuels is the manager. >> she wasn't went to the sidewalk and walked to the east. >> she is solo? >> 100%. >> kevin decided to call the medical examiner's office. >> i gave a very accurate description of her. and the medical examiner says hold on a second and says we're sending you a detective. >> the detectives ask kevin did paula have body piercings? >> yes, she did. >> he pulled out a zip lock baggy. and there was two piercings, two posts. they were all charcoaled like all burnt, blackened, you know, and he said would these be the piercings? and eileen and look close and i'm like, no. >> detectives checked out photos of paula on kevin's iphone. >> he pulled out a photo copy of
her earring. and i knew it was her. and that was the worst day of my life. >> the earring, paula's earring had been found at the scene of a burning dumpster. and inside the dumpster they found the charred body of a person they thought was a female. >> it was gruesome beyond belief? >> yeah. i have relived that moment too many times. >> kevin was driven to the police station in north miami near where paula's remains had been found ten miles north of the dance club. they had questions for him, intense ones. how was he going to explain about a violent domestic history with his now murdered girlfriend? and how was he going to explain the lovers quarrel at the club? >> he grabbed her arm and that's
year's weekend, 2010, residents of a neighborhood in north miami began calling it in. a small dumpster was on fire. flames were shooting out. a body, it turned out, had been set on fire. >> could you tell male or female even? >> at that point no. it was a human being. >> reporter: it was this detective's responsibility to learn who the victim was and how the victim, he or she, they couldn't tell at first had been thrown away and torched. the m.e. confirmed it was a woman's charred body, in cop talk, a jane doe. >> we started talking to other agencies seeing if there is anyone missing. >> reporter: the north miami detective was with the medical examiner's staff when the phone rang. it was kevin klym asking if they had found his girlfriend. >> he described her to the investigator there at the
medical examiner's office and it fit a general description of what we had. >> dental records would confirm it was indeed paula sladewski. >> why would a killer or killers dump a body, dispose of it the way they did? >> you are looking at a couple of aspects. hate or anger, or you are trying to cover something up, evidence. >> reporter: dna, bodily fluids, skin under fingernails. the woman's murdererer might think it would be unreadable char. >> can you take us inside the head of the killer? >> someone who is comfortable in their surroundings who felt they had a lot to lose if this woman was found. >> quickly the detective had a woman from michigan with a name and a boyfriend who reported him missing. what is his story, this kevin guy? on the one hand he was
appropriately distraught. he filed the missing person's report and was putting up photos with her photo on it. but he was the boyfriend. and that single fact alone made him a person of interest to the investigators. >> you are always going to find someone who was the last person to see them. they have the most information on their final moments. >> and you want to strip off his clothes and see if he has scratches? >> standard procedures. >> take off your clothes, we'll take pictures and we're going to talk to you. >> yeah. >> and even though kevin had no visible marks or scratches, detectives had a lot of questions. >> they came to my hotel around noon. and by the time the detectives dropped me off at my hotel it was 12:30 at night. >> detectives learned the details were not always pretty. their relationship had been rocky at times.
court records in california and michigan showed a history of domestic violence arrests between the two. one included paula's arrest in california for hitting kevin in california. kevin refused to press charges. and kevin was arrested twice for assaulting paw ha in michigan. the last time paula's nose had been broken. >> they had been together off and on, according to him, two years. it's history of domestic violence. >> you have to wonder, right? >> you are to wonder. this goes back to the last person that sees her that knows her. you is to wonder what is he not telling us? >> police say the victim's boyfriend is a person of interest. >> sladewski's boyfriend -- >> kevin's name and background got into the reporting on the murder. the reporters found the records of domestic violence complaints. that didn't look good for the boyfriend. and neither did the story of
iphone videos of kevin and paula. the photographer, john williams went on tv and said he distinctly remembered the man who turned out to be kevin as someone too aggressive in the crowd. >> here is this guy who is obnoxious and pushing through the crowd. >> and a new lead to the coverage. according to news reports some time, it's not clear when but before her miami weekend paula sent a text message to an ex-boyfriend saying he's trying to kill me, he. was that kevin? >> they got to find who did this to my baby. >> paula's mother was telling anyone who would listen she had no use for kevin klym. >> she was scared and called her ex-boyfriend and text him i'm hiding for the beast. >> as she arranged for care for her murdered daughter's two dogs she claimed her daughter was
terrified of kevin klym. >> just the threats that echo? the back of my head to destroy her life and she'd never be able to work again. >> but bad mouthing family and bad behavior at a concert is not the foundation for a homicide case. detectives came here to the club where she was last seen to get down exactly what the story was about how the two of them came to be ejected from club space by bouncers. >> ramon diaz told about seeing the start of the trouble between the pair. >> they were having an argument. but then she grabbed her arm. >> took hold of her physically and that's when i called security. >> the club manager explained the house policy of ejecting both parties when trouble flares. him and her. so there was a lot of stuff swirling about kevin klym. he came across like a short-fused guy who sometimes got physical. >> at the end of the first
interview is he on your suspect list? >> yes, he is. >> he hasn't talked himself off the list? >> at the end of 12 hours of grilling he felt more like a prime suspect with a star next to his name. >> we know you did it. we don't think you are a bad guy. maybe you made a mistake. >> and i can't tell you i did something i didn't do. >> in the court of public opinion it was hooking as though the boyfriend did it. but it turned out the 26-year-old dancer who so loved the lens had one final scene before the camera, a few seconds of grainy security cam footage. and what investigators saw there made them think that maybe the boyfriend was telling the truth. coming up, paula's last date with a killer. >> they walked off holding hands as if they were a couple. when death of a golden girl continues. get irresistibly clean and fresh carpets in your home
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paula was dead. and the boyfriend, kevin, realized he was falling behind the curve on where the finger of suspicion pointed. >> do you volunteer the history as it is going to reported? >> everything. signed a release. no warrant necessary. waive my rights, let's do it. i need you to rule me out so i can get on to finding who killed her. >> the north miami detectives interviewed him for 12 hours before letting him leaf leave. >> you are waiting to be arrested? >> they didn't tell me anything. they just said i hope we don't find out you did it. >> this is very active. >> dave wasser, the private detective kevin hired is doing
his own work. >> you remember a white gentleman named kevin. >> he handed out fliers and videotaped people. kevin was a guy who called in the middle of the night. but there was something about the boyfriend that felt right in his gut. >> everything this guy he went there he never went off the line one bit. i have been interviewing criminals a long time and this guy was straight up. >> and soon the detective would need an unlikely supporter of kevin's a member of paula's family, her sister, kelly farris who thought that kevin was getting a bad rap in the media. >> he shouldn't have left her. he's got to live with that the rest of his life. he is devastated about that. he is taking that hard. he wants to kill himself. >> do you believe his story? >> yeah. >> he left alone in the cab and came back to the hotel? >> never had a doubt. >> kelly paid her way down to
miami to help with the investigation. >> i plead for anyone with information to come forward. she last saw her sister with kevin at christmas. no sign of the behavior that got them both arrested for domestic violence before. >> if they are going at it like cats and dogs, why are they staying together? >> i don't know, really. i ask myself that question now. when they weren't drinking they got along great. >> kelly was taking prescription diet pills to stay in shape for her modeling career. >> the combination of that and she just -- they kind of got crazy. >> kelly shrugs off her sister's broken nose. >> i have been told that was an accident. >> and the text message saying she feared for her life. that turned out to be less than advertised. it was moldy old and the shaky source was the boyfriend who was
jailed for having sex with a minor when paula was 14. >> kelly remembers as well a paula who loved her barbies and caught the bouquet at kelly's wedding. now she was the 11:00 news tease. playboy model in a burning dumpster. >> your kid sister treated like so much trash. burned in a dumpster. >> that's bad enough that she was murdered. but to be burned like that. and -- and not being able to bring a body home is just terrible. >> when she got to miami she decided to do searching herself. she turned on her rental car's gps and punched in her sister's final way points, club space and the dumpster. >> you are hoping to come across someone who had seen something or noticed a camera or might be taking a picture. >> see if that there were
cameras. there is a club next door and a club across the street. it appeared there were outside cameras. >> club space had 30 security cameras but none showing the sidewalk. most are aimed at the cash regulators. but there is one camera that might have captured something. there was a camera inside high over the front door entrance. the private detective rewound the tape deck. >> and a holy cow moment. there she is. >> it took us about three hours. and when we saw it we go, wow. it was her. >> seven seconds of grainy video. the last images of paula sladewski. that's her on the right side of the screen. the hair, dress and six-inch heels. it's 7:21 in the morning. rewinding the tape five minutes,
the detective found him too. that is kevin begging bouncers to ask his girlfriend to leave with her. >> they leave me and talk to her and she says she wants to stay. you got to go. >> at 7:17 in the morning, kevin is seen exiting the club alone. >> it is a decision i'll regret the rest of my life. i mean, this is my nightmare. i wake up thinking if only i would have stayed an extra ten, 20 minutes. if only -- if only. >> although police still considered kevin a person of interest there was evidence now he left paula behind at the club. >> this seems to bolster his story. >> yes. everybody we talked to said he left by himself. >> the head of security at club space says he saw kevin and paula leave alone. but he and others have added an important new observation,
something not seen by this blinking security camera up here, a detail that changed the focus of the murder investigation. the club security chief said he saw paula walking away with someone on the street and that person was not kevinklym. >> a light skinned african-american male with a groomed full beard, well built, average height. >> and you don't see a rag of chloroform or something? >> they walked off holding hands as if they were a couple. and last seen by me and my staff walking away from the club toward the parking lot. >> paula was gone. but who was the man who accompanied her? coming up, was paula's killer one of the men who was hitting on her at the club. >> it was not a random guy off the street that she walked off with. >> when "dateline" continues. all batteries are the same...k consider this: when the unexpected happens, there's one brand of battery more emergency workers trust in their maglites:
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new lysol power & free has more cleaning power than bleach. how? the secret is the hydrogen peroxide formula. it attacks tough stains and kills 99.9% of germs. new lysol power & free. powerful cleaning that's family friendly. another step forward in our mission for health. police now had two big clues in the gruesome murder of paula sladewski. a grainy seven-second surveillance video showing the aspiring model leaving the club alone. and an eyewitness, a bouncer at the club who said he saw paula walk away with a man she met on the street. but paula's boyfriend, kevin klym said the some time exotic
dancer didn't go off with strangers. >> she knew how to read guys. she has been working in clubs in detroit for eight years. detroit's not a nice area and she's never had any problems. >> the boyfriend is convinced it was someone hitting on her in the wee hours in club space. >> it was n a random guy off the street walks up to her and she walks off with him. >> guys were swarming all over paula at the dance club and that's why he wanted to get her out of there. when kevin and his private investigator went back to the seconds of surveillance cam showing paula leaving they came up with another theory. they studied the images and thought the two club employees following her out are overinterested in the striking blond. >> break it down frame by frame. what do you see in it? >> i see her walking out. and you know the bouncers eye
her. her go out and three or four people follow behind her. this one guy behind her could be with her. she walks out of frame and immediately after the two bouncers immediately go out after her. that's what i see. >> police also studied the tape and talked to every club employee seen in it. >> you talked to the door guys, security. were they also persons of interest to you? >> yes. yes. >> have they talked themselves off your list at this point? >> it's such an ongoing massive investigation with many people we have to wait to get all their information back to eliminate them from any suspicion. >> kevin getting all conspiracy theory wondered if there was a play to make a play for the hotty after her boyfriend leaves. >> we do not have anything that leads to a conspiracy against her that night. it's viable but not the
strongest lead we have. >> here's one of the club employees in that video. he's mike samuel the club's chief of security. he says they were showing an ejected patron to the street. no one makes a move for her. >> this is a chamber before you go to the street and the camera is up here of the video of paula leaving. you are in that picture? >> correct. >> i walked over and got paula and walked her out this way just like we are walking. >> that is front door manager samuels escorted her to the door. the bouncers were following him, their boss, to the front door to make sure there were no further problems on the street. >> when detectives say she is a hot woman and the security
guards had their eye on her. it's easy to get the boyfriend away and we have the be irl to ourselves? >> that's insane. that's ludicrous especially since we saw her leave with another gentleman. >> and every employee was accounted for that night and no one left with paula. >> the staff has the to clock in and out with a hand reader. and they don't leave until 2:00 or 3:00 in the afternoon when we close. >> samuel's emphasized the man she walked away with was not in the club. >> he was wearing shorts. no matter how much money you have you don't get in with shorts. >> but club space employees could not believe their eyes. they thought they saw the man paula walked off with out on the
a sunday morning just before 7:30 outside a miami club where the party nights' only half way through, taxis, patrons, paula sladewski ejected and leaving under the watchful eye of the head security man. >> she got to the sidewalk and i noticed her and the suspect that they are looking for walking hand in hand. >> there is a parking lot over there. >> correct. there is a big parking lot. >> paula and somebody heading toward the lot behind the strip club across the street. and guess what? two weeks after the murder,
bouncers at club space are certain they saw the same man again right outside the front door. >> this guy that your door people saw that night, they believe they saw that same individual a few weeks later? >> i believe two weeks later on saturday they saw an individual fitting that description walking in front of their club. >> club space owner says that they called the miami cops who came and questioned the man. >> the police came, they apprehended him and talked to him and they let him go because it wasn't the guy. >> so he's not on the list? >> the guy she left with might not have been the guy that did the crime. >> what happened during those 14 hours between the time paula was last seen outside the club to the hour her body was found afire in the dumpster, a gap in time police are trying to fill. paula's boyfriend left miami within ten days of the murder under a shadow. back in michigan he pleaded
guilty to a misdemeanor assault charge and faced probation. charges in the other case were dropped. miami police still consider him an interest. but now they are focusing on the man paula was last seen walking away from the club with. paula's sister returned to miami four weeks later. she wanted to keep the case alive. >> tell us about your sister and family. >> she gave interviews, posted fliers with dave wasser and talked to anyone who might have seen something. a big sister nancy drew. >> we appreciate it. thanks a lot. >> she is very hurt. she is struggling. she's trying to keep the case alive by putting up a reward. >> kelly put up $15,000 of her own money for a reward.
club space owners doubled it to $30,000. a lubricant for reluctant tipsters. almost one month to the day after the murder when the case seemed to be stalled out came a dramatic development. police announced they have a composite sketch of the man bouncers had seen outside the club. the employees glimpsed the man from the back and side. but there is another witness who got a better look at the man from head on. this is a sketch of that man produced by a police artist. >> the person in the sketch is seen walking toward paula as she is standing on the corner. they have a conversation and then they turn and walk off together. >> that's not to say he hasn't been inside the club, right? >> we have no information to say he was inside the club. he may have been but we're not
sure. >> the sketch was released the same day that kelly was putting up reward posters near the dumpster where paula was found. this is the first time she has a look at the person who may have killed her sister. >> it does look like someone i saw in the club. >> inside the club? >> it appears to me, it looks very closely like a bouncer at the club. >> like a bouncer? >> like one of the bouncers at the club, yes. >> kevin thought it was someone who checked paula's i.d. at the club. he went back to club space on a sunday morning at the very hour when paula had disappeared weeks earlier. >> this place is a zoo. there is no way there's not witnesses out there that saw her leave. >> hoping he wouldn't be recognized, kevin went undercover at the club. he was looking for the bouncer
he thought matched the sketch. two hours later he emerged to the daylight disappointed. >> the security crew is gone, different the security all together from the door guys to everybody is different in there. they changed out the entire staff, pretty much. especially the security crew. >> bologna responded the club owners. they say kevin is mistaken. the staff is the same and they there have the payroll to prove it. >> it's sad he is taking this opportunity instead of trying to help, you know, to, you know, dispel leads out there that are not helping anybody. he has to let the police do their work. >> police say none of the bouncers matches the suspect in the sketch. now it's two years later and it's a cold case in a hot city. forensic evidence processed abandoned cars near the dumpster. if there was a hit there,
authorities haven't disclosed it. so mainly, there is this sketch. detectives hope that paula's looks will trigger a memory from somewhere that moment in january. >> that signature of turning heads may be the signature of who finds the killer. >> absolutely. >> because you couldn't take your eyes off her? >> absolutely. >> meanwhile the miami party goes on. business at clubs hasn't dipped a bit. the police have done their worrying for patrons. >> we have a deranged, sadistic killer out there that's preying on vulnerable women and we need to locate this woman as soon as possible. >> back in michigan, paula's sister kelly and boyfriend kevin have waited for more than two years for a call that hasn't come. 2010 was a short year for paula sladewski, murdered at the age of 26.